sex slavery update

The latest news on the white slavery front:

The Rotherham case made a huge splash, and the consensus is that it isn’t an isolated town involved in this.
The white sex slave traffic (as well as for every other group), is alive and doing a booming business. One would have thought that we could have progressed beyond stealing children and destroying their lives at this point in human history. Or not.

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, ritagmiller, we’re glad you’re here. For future ref, when you start a thread, it’s helpful to other readers to provide a link to the column in question. In this case, I assume, it’s

No prob, you’ll know for next time, and, as a I say, welcome!

From your second cite -

“Thought to have been” and “potential victims” is not exactly proof of a booming business. And fifty-six potential cases is not exactly “booming” AFAICT.

And your first cite gives what is purported to be a “conservative estimate” of cases over sixteen years or so. Certainly it is terrible if it happens, but how often does it happen?


It is not just sex slavery, either. We have slaves right here in the United States working as hotel workers, domestics, and even nurses and school teachers. The way it works is shady employment agents hire people overseas with the promise of working in the United States for good wages. But they charge enormous up-front fees, often putting entire families in debt. Then they bring the worker over here and find her a job (it is not always a woman, but it usually is). They require the worker to live with several other workers in an apartment they provide and they charge exorbitant rent. They also take nearly all of the workers’ wages in payment for the ‘loans’ for the job search fees.

The workers do not know that these fees are illegal under US law. The agents threaten them with revocation of their visas and work permits if the workers complain. They also threaten physical harm to the workers’ families back home. They are told that INS is constantly looking for them (in fact, INS is looking for them – but to rescue them, not deport them) and they live in terror of the police, their neighbors, or anyone else who might find out their secret.

Next time you see someone changing the sheets in your hotel room or teaching your kids arithmetic in an elementary school, you might want to think about that. The worker might not be here voluntarily.

I am going to need a cite on the number of nurses and teachers who are being held as slaves. Both of these are licensed professions.


Or they are there voluntarily, knowing what the deal is, but that doesn’t change the fact they are considered victims of human trafficking.

I don’t want to give any opinion on this, but there is a reason the UN definition explicitly states that the consent of a victim is irrelevant.

Cecil’s columns, as re-published on this site, often have updates. Those updates never show their dates that I’ve ever noticed. It’s rather disorienting to read those updates and not be able to know when they were written.

Dex, is it too much to ask of Cecil and his web editors, to include the date with all updates like this?

As for the topic at hand: Somewhere in this discussion, I think it would be worthwhile to mention Nicholas Kristof, contemporary columnist for the New York Times, who has been crusading for some time against sex slavery and trafficking. He (and his guest writers) blog at and in his regular columns, where the topic is frequently discussed.

polar bear, how much of this do you think you are seeing in those German smorgasbord sex resorts?

If you have a strict reading of the definition I linked to, quite a lot (+90% I think).

Changing sheets, maybe, teaching arithmetic, no, I don’t believe you.

Yeah, that’s certainly not unreasonable. I’ll bring it up with Ed who really handles that sort of administrative thing. Thanks for the suggestion.

Requiring a license is no barrier at all. Why would it be? The nurses and teachers are well qualified and licensed. The hospitals or school districts that hire them don’t know that these people are working under duress and that they are not being allowed to keep their salaries.

This article from the Boston Globe, for example:

I think this is the issue though, people don’t really think of someone who voluntarily entered into a shitty situation as a slave. When the term sex slave is used people think of someone grabbed off the street and chained to a wall.

Advocacy groups could do more to explain the real issue, but I think they are worried that if they do people won’t care.

If by ‘voluntarily’ you mean someone who was defrauded of their freedom by being promised something they didn’t get such as a good job, then you have a funny definition of ‘voluntarily.’ How is that different from the tried and true method of slipping somebody a mickey (which still happens, btw)? The chains are just as real whether they are physical or you are just too terrified to leave your room. The mistreatment is the same – physical beatings, malnourishment, stealing all your stuff, threats against your family, separation from family and friends, etc.

No offense, but that did not look much like sex slavery, and did not give any real statistics on prevalence. The case cited is bad, but does not show that this is a widespread problem.


Well, I have yet to see anyone use that description of “voluntary”. So I guess that is not what grude had in mind.

I think that what Shodan is trying to point out is that, not matter how they are coerced into their profession and how much they are controlled once in their profession, you really can’t call lawyers and teachers “sex slaves”, which is the topic of this thread.

Sorry, I wanted to respond to waddlingeagle but Shodan got his response in before I did.

Look I’m not defending any employer who takes your passport to control you. BUT at any point you could go to your embassy and get another one, it isn’t like you’re chained to a wall 24/7.

I’ve talked to people who had their passport “seized” by their employer, and their story was basically yea I’m being exploited and treated like shit by my employer but it is still way better then the wages at home you know? They enter into a absolutely shitty illegal situation knowing they are going to make more money then then they could at home. At any point they could call police and explain what is going on and bust the whole organization, why don’t they? Because they are making way more money than they could at home, and they would be deported if their employer was busted.

I don’t know the solution.

Right. I originally said the problem extended beyond sex slavery. You demanded examples the went beyond sex slavery. Now you say I am wrong because this is not an example of sex slavery.

Your argument is called ‘moving the goal posts’ and it is a common logical fallacy.